DISCLAIMER: I own nothing. *boo-hoo*

AQUAPHOBIA

Devlin thought it would never happen; deep down he wished it could never happen. At this moment his fear caught up and smacked him square in the face as he watched a few bubbles coming from the surface of the lake. A wave of weakness and fear came over him knowing that Kenny was sinking to the bottom of the lake - his unconscious body slowly going deeper and deeper.

_X_

"Pool party yeah…" Devlin listened from his room as Kenny bounced around his own room across the hall. Devlin laughed slightly as he packed a few small items in his pockets, the moment he turned back a shrill shriek escaped his throat as Kenny stood right there.

"Don't ever sneak up on me like that!"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever, get your butt in gear, we're loosing precious pool time"

"Dude, the pool isn't going anywhere"

"Yeah, but the time is…" with this Kenny grabbed Devlin by the shirt and started dragging him out of the room.

Ah…this is more like it… Devlin smiled ever so slightly leaning back in a pool-side lounge chair as Kenny and a few of their friends splashed around in the pool - one going as far as doing a cannonball. Devlin turned his smile to a full grin of delighted content with the notion of Kenny not knowing his secret. If he ever found out, he'd never let me live it down. Or he would do everything he could to change it. He brought his hands behind his head, closed his eyes and leaned back. But kicking back in the sun is just as nice…that's what I'm into…

Time stood still. Devlin's world turned upside down as though he were in a tumble dry cycle; one moment he was happily sunbathing, the next moment water crested over the top of his head…all he could see was blue - not the shade of blue in the sky, it was the blue shade found in pool water. His heart and mind raced; he knew that trying to draw a breath would lead to water invading his lungs; panicking would only lead to a most certain end. He closed his eyes and waited. Seconds ticked by like hours. Instantly he drew a breath of air.

Everyone around breathed a sigh of relief as Devlin gurgled then gasped before sitting up. Slowly the world stopped spinning until Kenny kneeling before him remained as steady as the concrete he sat on. The look of legitimate concern plastered on Kenny's face was the only thing Devlin could focus on.

"Are you trying to kill me!" was all Devlin could say as he now shook violently somehow managing to stand; every muscle in his body feeling weak from the close encounter with the end. Before they knew it, he turned and began walking away if only to hide tears cresting in his eyes.

"Devlin, wait, I was just…" Kenny hollered, in response, Devlin raised his hand silently indicating not to say another word.

_X_

"Come on Devlin, just tell me what's going on…" Kenny pleaded for the umpteenth time in the few short moments that it took Devlin to walk into the kitchen and open the fridge to grab a chilled bottle of water. Still the raven haired boy remained silent.

"Devlin…" Kenny playfully smiled holding his hands over his head to imitate antlers while making a goofy face. Even then Devlin paid no attention to him.

"You wouldn't be in such a playful mood if you just came face to face with death!" Devlin's voice thundered, out of reflex and a trace of fear Kenny backed up three steps.

"You're still hung up on what happened at the pool? Come on man, that was a joke…"

"No! Jokes have a punch line and make people laugh. That…it wasn't a joke, not by a long shot" Devlin narrowed his glare before forcing it to the sink. A pause of silence filled the space, Kenny wanting to say something but daring not to. At this moment Devlin turned to leave. It was then that Kenny made the connection.

"You're afraid of being under water…because you can't swim, can you?" Instantly Devlin stopped dead in his tracks, drew his shoulders up and held his breath. "That's why you were tanning instead of jumping in, because you don't know how to swim, right?"

"Shut up, Kenny, just shut up!" Devlin belted out a low pitched cry marking unseen tears from tightly shut eyes. "Now you know the truth, so go ahead and laugh your but off. Tell everyone you know about this so they too can laugh at my expense" his words were brought short by deep huffing sobs as Kenny's slowly began to feel like crud about pushing the subject so hard. "Why aren't you laughing!"

"It's not a joke, there's no punch line, it isn't funny…"

Devlin turned to Kenny. Almost instantly the brunet reached out bringing the raven hair boy into a close but loose hug.

"Devlin, I'm sorry. You did a pretty good job of hiding it, I don't think anybody knows this about you…except for us, and that's the way it's going to stay. Our little secret"

"Kenny…"

"It's all right"

_X_

"Finally, some action" Kenny laughed as he and Devlin - both on hover boards - zipped past buildings until they were approaching the lake and the old pier. It was more than simple action; it was a sign that Ben was finally starting to trust the boys with hero work without him being around. Their mission was simple; stop an alien being from wrecking the pier and return with it in a null-void egg.

Even as the boys stood behind a squid looking being deep blue in color they felt it wasn't something they couldn't handle.

"Hey, calamari…give up before you wind up as the catch of the day" Kenny drew the beings attention as Devlin darted around to create a two prone attack. Before the boys realized it, the being swung a tentacle around slamming hard enough against Kenny to send him flying off the pier and into the lake; as it turned to Devlin, he grinned.

It was a faint beeping, yet it was enough to force the being to look down at a small egg rolling under it. A flash of light; a yelp from the alien; Devlin laughed seeing it crammed into the very tight space.

"Kenny!" Devlin shouted after slipping the egg into his pocket and looking over the side of the pier to find a trace of bubbles cresting the surface, almost instantly he turned pale realizing the gravity of the situation. Even without looking, Devlin could see Kenny's unconscious body slowly sinking deeper and deeper as the last of the bubbles escaped his nose. "Kenny!"

The world stood still. Devlin ground his teeth while twisting his face as his fears caught up to him. Stop being such a scared little brat, grow a backbone already! His mind shouted in his ears. With one shout, Devlin leapt over the railing and straight down into the water, breaking the surface to take a deep breath Devlin was on a mission. I've seen this thousands of times before, just hold my breath long enough to grab him and float back to the surface…to air…his mind raced as he caught glimpses of Kenny just out of reach. Just a little further…got him!

Kenny chocked the coughed; remnants of water slipping from the corner of his mouth as he turned over using one hand to prop himself up. Seeing this, Devlin smiled before falling onto his back - both boys drawing deep breaths of air.

"Did…did you…actually…" Kenny locked eyes with his step brother

"I don't believe it myself…" Devlin trailed off laughing slightly. Both looked up as a presence stood over them.

"You two look like a couple of drenched puppies" Ben snickered helping the boys up "Come on, let's get you two home and into some dry clothes"

Walking home, Kenny and Devlin slipped one arm behind the others back safe in the knowledge that they wouldn't let anything happen to the other.


NOTE: I'm being as sensative as possible about the subject of not knowing how to swim, for I too know exactly what Devlin is going through.
-- Phantom Rottweiler

P.S. I'm not out to offend, rag, or dis on anybody...no disrespect intneded or implied.